Gluten Free Chouquettes

Out of all the cuisines the world has to offer, I have to admit (albeit with some trepidation) that French food is an area that I have left largely unexplored.

Maybe I am unsophisticated, or perhaps I’ve just been misled by the notion that French food is a little tricky – at this point I am thinking about my miserable attempts at Petit Four or Macarons…

After watching Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ (which is currently being re-aired on BBC 2) I’ve been feeling a little more enthusiastic about revisiting French cuisine – thanks to the show I’ve achieved the gooiest of Chocolate Fondants and have fine tuned my gluten free Choux pastry recipe.

Speaking of Choux, I have made it in the past – and quite successfully (see my Profiteroles recipe) – but this time I definitely feel like I have perfected it.

One of the recipes on the show was Chouquettes – a petit viennoiserie, consisting of  Choux pastry which are most often topped with pearl sugar or chocolate chips, although sometimes you might come across Chouquettes which have been dipped in chocolate or filled with mousse.

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I decided to go for the traditional Chouquettes sprinkled with Pearl Sugar (or nib sugar) which I found in my local Waitrose and I also used Rachel Khoo’s recipe from the show, but with some vital tweaks to make the recipe work gluten free.

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Chouquettes are definitely best eaten on the day they are baked, and I will be very surprised if they don’t gobbled up immediately!


Gluten Free Chouquettes

Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen (recipe found on Almost Always Hungry).

Ingredients: 

170ml water

170ml semi skimmed milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

100g butter

170g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

Icing sugar for sprinkling

Pearl sugar to decorate (I found this in my local Waitrose).

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180c fan/gas mark 6 and line two trays with greaseproof paper.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, stir together the water, milk, salt and sugar. Place the pan over a medium heat, then add the butter and bring the ingredients to the boil. Once the butter has melted bring the pan off the heat.

3. In a separately bowl, stir together the gluten free flour and the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat vigorously until no flour remains and you are left with a smooth dough.

4. Transfer the dough to a bowl and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Stir the dough to help release the steam – once  the mixture has cooled down add the eggs, one at a time, beating until dough is smooth, glossy and elastic.

5. Place dough into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe bite-sized dollops onto a lined baking tray.

6. Sprinkle each dollop with icing sugar and pearl sugar, then give them another sprinkling of icing sugar.

7. Bake the Chouquettes in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until evenly browned. In the last few minutes, pierce the bottom of the Chouquettes with cocktail stick to help the insides to dry out – this will stop them from going soggy and help them to stay crisp.

8. Transfer the Chouquettes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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I love seeing your take on my bakes, so remember to share your a picture of your Chouquettes over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

Gluten Free Bakewell Tart (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my gluten free take on Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart, as featured on the latest episode of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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This week the bakers had to tackle pastry and they were tasked with making Danish Pastries, Filo Pastry Amuse Bouches and a Bakewell Tart, which was this week’s technical challenge.

There was some controversy on Twitter after the show aired that Mary’s bake was not a Bakewell Tart, but in fact a Cherry Bakewell because it was topped with an almond flavoured icing – apparently a traditional Bakewell Tart is supposed to be topped with layer of flaked almonds, not icing.

It may annoy traditionalists, but I decided to stay true to Mary’s recipe and go for a layer of icing…  but I did add some flaked almonds for good measure!

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The challenge making a gluten free version of this bake is coming with a good shortcrust pastry recipe.

Gluten free pastry can tend to be a little on the crumbly side, so it’s important that there is enough liquid in the mixture to help bind the ingredients together. My recipe uses a combination of egg yolks and butter to achieve this, but if the mixture is being little stubborn, a drop of water can be added to help bring it together.

It’s also incredibly important to chill your pastry before using it, as it this really does help to make it more pliable.

Finally, a good quality non stick tart or flan tin with a loose base is essential, or you will struggle to get your tart of its tin!

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Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Tart

(Recipe inspired by Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

You will need a 8″ inch fluted flan or tart tin with a loose base.

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

200g plain gluten free flour

50g ground almonds

75g  icing sugar

2 egg yolks

125g butter

A drop of water

For the filling:

4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

1 large free-range egg, beaten

1 tsp almond extract

For the icing: 

300g icing sugar

1 tsp almond extract

A handful of toasted flaked almonds to finish

Method

1) To make the pastry, stir together the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl.

2) Rub together the flour mixture and the butter, add the egg yolks and start to bring the mixture together your hands.

3) Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball – you can add a few drops of water to help, if necessary.

4) Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour – this is very important as the colder the pastry is, the easier it is to work with.

5) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4, then throughly grease your tart tin with butter.

6) Roll out the chilled pastry between two sheets of greaseproof baking paper (this will prevent the pastry from sticking to your work surface) until it is about the thickness of a 1 pound coin.

7) Use greaseproof paper to help you get the pastry into the tin safely. Firstly, peel off the top layer of baking paper, place the tin upside down into the middle of the pastry then carefully flip the pastry over with the help of the bottom sheet of baking paper. Peel off the bottom baking sheet and gently press the pastry down into the tin, insuring it’s pressed right into each groove – don’t panic if you do get any tears or any holes, just neatly patch it up with some spare pastry.

8) Trim off any excess pastry. Place some baking paper into the case and fill it baking beans (any dried beans or rice will do) then blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans and bake the case for a further 5 minutes to help dry it out.

9. Meanwhile make the Frangipane: cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, ground almonds and almond extract until the ingredients are combined.

10. Leave the pastry case to cool down slightly before spreading the jam over the base of the case in an even layer. Next, spoon the Frangipane into the case and smooth it out with a palate knife.

11. Bake the tart for 25 – 30 minutes or until the Frangipane is golden brown and firm to touch. If the pastry starts to get a little too much colour, put some tin foil over the tart, this will prevent it from burning.

12. Leave the tart to cool completely before decorating. While you are waiting, toast your flaked almonds by spreading them over a lined baking sheet and baking them at 180 degrees for about 5 minutes until toasted.

13. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the almond extract and 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix until you are left with a thick but spreadable icing.

14. Spread the icing over the cooled tart using a palate knife. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds, then serve!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe and all other recipes I have recreated during this series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ so far.

I love seeing your bakes, so if you try any of my recipes please take a snap and share it on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #titchytonbakes or post a picture on my Facebook page.

 

Silly Yak ‘Ready to Roll Pastry Block’ Review

Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts on a relatively new product available for all you Coeliacs out there: Silly Yak’s ‘Gluten Free Ready to Roll Pastry Block’.

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There has been lots of excitement growing around this product on Facebook and I can see why, as it is very difficult and time consuming to make decent gluten free pastry from scratch, so for many Coeliacs ready to roll gluten free pastry would be an absolute godsend.

At the moment this product is only stocked in selected Tesco stores and they only seem to stock it in quite small quantities, which is a bit of a shame. After a few months of searching I found Silly Yak’s list of stockists and went on a bit of a trek across London to get my hands on some.

The product can be found in the chilled foods section amongst all the normal ready to roll pastries and is not a frozen product. Sadly, it can’t be frozen so you would need to use it by it’s use by date, but you can freeze whatever you decide to make with it. I was happy to see that the pastry only costs £1.75, which I think is reasonable compared to a lot of gluten free products on the market and it is only fractionally more expensive than a lot of normal ready to roll pastries available.

I bought two packets so that I could give a few different recipes a try and attempt things that are impossible to make with homemade gluten free pastry, such as Cornish Pasties.

Initially, I was very frustrated as I found the pastry very difficult to work with.
I rolled out the pastry between two sheets of floured greaseproof paper, as gluten free pastry has a tendency to stick to the work surface, but found that it melted and stuck to the paper a bit once it had been at room temperature for a while. After cutting out the first few shapes, I attempted to to re-roll the leftover scraps of pastry but they ended up melting completely. I also had a bit of trouble rolling out the pastry thin enough and ended up with a few holes in the pastry when trying to arrange it into the right shape, but after a little bit of effort I did manage to make a few decent looking Cornish Pasties.

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After the slight debacle of assembling the pasties I’ll admit I was feeling a little sceptical, but once they came out of the oven I was much more excited to try one. They smelt great, and both the texture and taste was like that of normal pastry and in the end was worth the slightly stressful preparation.

For my second attempt I made a pie which was a bit more successful, although the pastry didn’t require handling as much.

To make handling the pastry easier I tried the following:

– Placing a chopping board in the freezer for 10 minutes, this provided a nice a cold surface on which to roll the pastry out.
– Keeping the pastry in the fridge until I need to use it.
– Rolling the pastry out between sheets of greaseproof paper.
– Chilling the left over scraps of the pastry for a few minutes before re-rolling them.

These techniques did stop the pastry from melting but I still had a little trouble getting the pastry as thin as I wanted. This said, if you don’t mind a pie that looks a little rough around edges but still tastes good then I would recommend giving this pastry a try.

Overall, the fact that this pastry tastes good which for me outweighed the difficulty of working with it. I would probably buy it again, but I do think with a few changes Silly Yak could make this product even better.

Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy Silly Yak pastry at selected Tesco stores – visit www.sillyyak.co.uk for more information.